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TSO Goes Global With Powerful New Production in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) at this stage in their illustrious history are a global sensation. Not only can their concerts be seen in person in North America during the holiday season thanks to two separate well-honed touring groups, but, they have grown the TSO brand worldwide thanks to a large presence on social media racking up multiple millions of views to their videos on just YouTube alone.

TSO returned to Nashville's award-winning Bridgestone Arena in 2023.

For followers in Tennessee the wait was finally over when TSO made its riveting return to the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on December 6, 2023. Music City was one of many stops on their The Ghosts of Christmas Eve-the Best of TSO & More tour. This year, TSO promised a new, even larger presentation of their over-the-top production which was hard to imagine as their shows are generally a total sensory overload to begin with. But, just like Santa they faithfully delivered the goods once again.

Soccer fans of the MLS Club Nashville SC are never quite sure what division the team will be slotted to play in - East or West. And, it's the same for the travelling entourage of TSO and thanks to the quirks of tour routing we can get either one of the alignments in Mid-Tenn. Last year it was the Jeff Scott Soto and Al Pitrelli led offering that made its way to Broadway leaving us wondering if West was really the best. However, after the 2.5 hour stupendous blast of sight and sound that we just witnessed it was clear that East is really a beast. Let's just call it a tie - something not uncommon in the game of football.

Russell Allen excelled during his show stopping time in the spotlight.

"The Ghosts of Christmas Eve" tells the tale of a runaway who breaks into an abandoned theater on December 24th. While seeking shelter from the cold, the teen is found by the venue's caretaker who uses the ghosts and spirits from the building's past to turn her life around. Following Christmas Eve, the 2023 episode also featured a ballistic, blazing and laser-lit second set showcasing TSO's fan-favorites, greatest hits, and surprises.

The show kicked off with "The Hourglass" sung by a chorus while flashing lights and vibrant colors filled the Bridgestone Arena. Narrator Bryan Hicks welcomed us and then quickly moved into the story about the girl and the caretaker who through dreams will help this runaway find her way back home. He accomplishes this through a series of traditional Christmas songs that are given the TSO treatment along with TSO originals such as the cinematic "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)".

Rock god Joel Hoekstra was doing his thing in Music City.

Lasers along with visuals added to the enchantment of this energized opera. The well-dressed musicians perform from moving platforms and on a number of occasions were either out in the aisles or soaring above the seats. Mixed in with a lot of rocking numbers were more reflective moments that were also enhanced by effects. In the center of the venue was another structure for additional dazzling displays that included a larger-than-life snow globe with a singer inside.

More scenes from this year's excellent extravaganza.

"TSO goes global," joked guitarist Chris Caffery. He also pointed out that their string section was locals as it is TSO's custom to work with artists from each town that they visit. Another long-standing TSO tradition is to donate $1.00 of each concert ticket sold to a charity which in this case went to the Nashville Humane Association.

This choir was on fire all night long.

TSO was created by Paul O'Neill (1956-2017) who began his career playing guitar for touring productions of Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair. In the 1980s, O'Neill became a major concert promoter in Japan, but returned to the States to start writing and producing full-time which led to TSO.

Funds were raised for the Nashville Humane Association.

The concept of TSO was to craft progressive rock operas of epic proportions, which have only become more elaborate over time. Paul had a global vision as reflected in his compositions but still thought of community with the idea of giving a portion of each concert ticket sold to non-profits. Paul who was referred to as their "angel in heaven" has a legacy that lives on through great music and good works.

TSO's holiday extravaganzas run from the middle of November through late December. In order to reach more markets their two production units - TSO East and TSO West - both showcase top level dancers, instrumentalists, singers, crew and techs. So, if TSO comes to your town check them out and experience this total sensory overload for yourself! Perhaps with his remarks to the audience in Nashville Caffery let the cat of the bag. Can a TSO Europe and TSO Asia really be far off? Hey, it's Christmas time - we can put that on our wish list.

A concert by TSO is really a tricked out version of The Nutcraker in a heavy metal setting.

Related Links: For more information on TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Trans-Siberian Orchestra | Bridgestone Arena


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